Editor, In response to the Courier article published March 11:
The city of Ludowici officials informed the Coastal Courier that they were cleared by the attorney general in the open-records case.
The attorney general did send them a letter closing the case after he informed them they had to give me all the documents I had requested for more than two months. The response timeline is three days. Nowhere in his letter did he say he cleared them of anything. In fact, he said, “There are potential questionable actions by the city.”
His job is to do what he could as far as the open-records request, to be assured I would receive all that I had asked for. In his response, Joe Kitchens pledged to work with me on future open-records requests and to be timely and responsive with responses.
The last sentence from the attorney general says, “It appears the city has addressed your concerns and I am closing the file.”
In a previous letter, I was advised to speak with the district attorney and the solicitor about all other complaints I had.
The mayor claimed, in this same article, that they tried to work with me to provide information and would continue to do so. Then why did I have to wait more than two months to receive anything until their hand was forced by the attorney general?
To make it quite clear, the attorney general can only act as a mediator insofar as the Open Records and Open Meetings Act is concerned. Once he has satisfied his position, he no longer has the authority to interfere with local government.
In Mr. Kitchings’ letter to the AG, he skirts the truth to justify their actions. He remarks on the mayor’s salary, admitting he knew nothing of the way the mayor was paid for years until it was brought it to his attention. He states in this letter that the salary had been paid this way since the 1980s. When it was questioned, they supposedly changed the method of payment to the correct way in March 2010. This is not true and I have documents to prove it.
I will ask for a complete state audit because I believe I have enough proof to warrant one. The auditor they have used in the past took until February 2011 to deliver the 2009 audit. Although the mayor thinks this is the man to listen to, I have my doubts.
— Janis M. Goode